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Community corner: North at fever pitch

It’s wonderful to see the love of the game at the grassroots thriving with plenty of support around our coastal A grade competitions.

Mackay had closely fought games across the board and Townsville saw the momentous return of the Souths Bulls in their respective opening weekends, joining the Far North Queensland league which kicked off in Cairns the weekend prior.

You can tell people have missed rugby league and the amazing weather of late in the North encouraged everyone out of the woodwork.

We hope it lasts for the Easter weekend.

I’m eager to see the enthusiasm flow over into the start of our junior competitions in our biggest locations on April 15 and I know the kids are chomping at the bit to get started.

In exciting news, we’re tracking well ahead with our player registrations, up 11 per cent year to date.

Our measure of success of course isn’t based purely on numbers but it’s great to see the level of interest and that brings in different families, more avenues and more volunteers for our great game moving forward.

In other news we commenced our very first carnival of the year, the Under 15 Crocs to Cane Toads in Sarina. We had 17 teams competing, ranging from Central Highlands up to Townsville.

Bowen Seagulls played Mackay Brothers in the boys' final, with Brothers taking out the win 18-4, and Wanderers Mackay beat Mackay Souths 10-6 in the girls.

The majority of our girls competitions will kick off after Easter and there’s still a huge interest. It’s one of the fastest growing facets of our game and with the inception of our North Queensland Cowboys NRLW team, I think that’s only going to inspire more girls to get involved and hopefully for those aspirational players they can see even more the QRL pathways from local opportunities in their region through to representative honours to NRLW dreams.

It's exciting to see as a former player a young player can be based regionally and make it all the way to the highest level. While I love the game as a whole, the female area is a passionate space of mine and seeing the way it has evolved is truly exciting.

Editor’s note: Renae was part of a team of Mackay community representatives that raised $40,000 for the Mackay Hospital Foundation through her dance number to Beyonce’s “Run The World (Girls)” performed at the organisation’s major fundraiser for the year. Despite thoroughly enjoying the experience, Renae says her dance moves will never see the light of day again.

Shout out

A shout out to the good folk at Sarina Crocodiles, led by president Gary Dickson. I was lucky enough to head out to talk about the Positive Environment Program to their players and coaches and a big well done to the club for being so proactive in that space and having a desire to incorporate that into what they want to be known for in the community as whole. Rugby league is not just a game, it’s the community that surrounds you and Sarina is certainly leading the way in making sure the game is a place for everyone.

Key dates

April 14-15 – Under 12 Shane Muspratt carnival, Ayr

April 22-23 – RISE camp, Bamaga

April 29-May 1 – XXXX Foley Shield, Cairns

Celebrating our team

Tina Faulkner

Role: League and club coordinator, Mackay      

Hometown: Mackay      

Favourite Maroons player: Alfie Langer 

Favourite Maroons Origin moment: Origin 3, 2022 (Go Dozer!)   

Why you love your job: What’s not to love? I get to be involved in the greatest game of all. I have always been a rugby league fan right from a very young girl so to now be “working” in this space to unite, excite and inspire others, makes me feel so lucky.              

What Tina brings to the team: Tina epitomises how a love for the game has her working in it as a career. Her caring and supporting nature is the perfect fit as a league and club coordinator through her passion for helping others. Tina has her whole family involved in the game. Shout out to Tina's husband Anthony who is always putting his hand up to assist the QRL North team. Tina excels at her role while being a wonderful mum to her four children.

Main image: Mackay Brothers' winning Crocs to Cane Toads team and support staff

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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